Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Happy Hollisters

The Stratemeyer Syndicate published more than Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins
and Tom Swift. They published a series of thirty-three books by "Jerry West", whose real name was Andrew E. Svenson. My sister, Linda, and I devoured these books on a camping trip. Our public library only had the first book, but Linda's best friend, Patty, owned the series. Linda told me recently that she was always envious of Patty since she owned those books.

But, one summer, we were going on a month-long trip. We were each allowed fifteen books, so Linda and I made sure we took books that the other person wanted to read. Patty was kind enough to lend us some of the Happy Hollister books. The books had titles such as The Happy Hollisters and the Ice Carnival Mystery (set in Quebec) and The Happy Hollisters and the Haunted House Mystery.

Pete, Pam, Ricky, Holly, and Sue. They ranged in age from twelve down to four, the ages of the expected readers. The children in the family were modeled on Svenson's own children. But, the mysteries! The Happy Hollister mysteries were for a younger audience than Nancy Drew, up to about age twelve. The family traveled, but even in the first book, when they moved to their new home, there was a mystery. And, the children became amateur sleuths.

The first book in the series was The Happy Hollisters. The books were written from 1953 to 1969. Since Linda and I were reading them in the sixties, we were the perfect audience for these mysteries. The rights were given to the family after Svenson's death in 1975, and, beginning in 2010, the estate started reissuing the books.

Now, they have a new website, and a new place to discover these books. It's at www.The HappyHollisters.com. These illustrated mysteries bring back such wonderful memories of sharing them with Linda on our trip.

So, how many of you read The Happy Hollisters? I know they're not as well known as the other books from the Stratemeyer Syndicate. But, these books set me on the path of becoming a mystery reader.

21 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Galloping nostalgia! I never read any of them but I loved your reminiscence.

We used to be able to borrow 10 library books for the summer. I remember reading THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO.

Callie Svenson said...

Gee, that's a swell review and nice recollection of how The Happy Hollisters turned you into a lifelong mystery lover. Thanks!

Bill Crider said...

I loved series books as a kid, but somehow I missed this series. Sounds like great fun.

Lesa said...

Oh, it was nostalgia. This was a fun mystery series, and Linda & I didn't tire of the adventures that whole month. We still look back at them with fondness, or she wouldn't have told me that story about envying her friend.

Kay said...

I'm pretty sure I read a few of these. Think my local library had a minimal amount of them. And that's how I was able to read books at that time of my life - the library. My parents saw no reason to buy books for me. They weren't readers themselves and for them, the library was entirely good enough. Which it was, but I so envied friends who actually 'owned' books like these and Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and Robin Kane.

Loved your story about your trip and sharing with your sister. My Mom used to let me check out lots of books from the library and take them with us when we visited my grandparents. I don't think we ever lost one or damaged one.

Sherry Harris said...

I don't think I read them all but I know we owned several and checked out others from the Bookmobile! I always wanted to be part of that family. Thanks for sharing this Lesa!

SandyG265 said...

I'm sure I read some of these. I also read the Tom Swift and the Hardy boys series. Somehow I was never that into Nancy Drew. I was more into Sci-Fi and anything with animals.

Lesa said...

We were going on vacation for a month, and, at that time, our library only had two week loans, not vacation loans of any sort. Thank heavens for this collection!

We owned some books, Kay, but our library was a treasure house. Unfortunately, as with this situation, or C.S. Lewis' books, we often only had an early book in the series. I didn't know there was anything other than The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe until high school!

It's fun to share childhood favorite, Sherry. Thank you!

Margie Bunting said...

Yes, yes, yes, I remember The Happy Hollisters fondly, along with so many other series. Children's books are still special to me, and I have secured paperback copies whenever I could. Among my favorites are The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (also J.K. Rowling's favorite) and The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene DuBois. They made my imagination soar!

Lesa said...

I'm so happy that some of you remember The Happy Hollisters. As Margie said, "They made my imagination soar!" Perfect description!

Kaye Barley said...

Oh my gosh, I had forgotten about The Happy Hollisters until I saw your post on Facebook. How delightful to be reminded - Thank You!

Glen Davis said...

I remember one year I found 4 Brains Benton books at a garage sale when I was 10 or so. Those books seem almost forgotten as well.

I was also really into The Three Investigators and Encyclopedia Brown.

Christie said...

Lesa, I remember when I got a library card in Fremont visiting Grandma. I would start reading a series in Huron and then when they didn't have the next book in the series, I would get it in Fremont (hopefully). I remember doing that with one series in particular, not a mystery series. All I can remember about it now was that there were several families, there was a dad who was an officer at West Point (I think) and a mom who was a Broadway actress! Quite a combination. I also remember you taking me to that used book store in Sandusky and I bought a lot of Cherry Ames books because we only had a few in the Huron library. See what you started when you talked about series we read as kids.

Christie said...

And don't forget The Boxcar Children!

Lesa said...

Isn't it great to remember those series from childhood? Christie, I never read the Boxcar children. I don't know if we had them at Huron when I was a kid. And, I never had a card in Fremont. Lucky you!

Lesa said...

I read a lot of Encyclopedia Brown, Glen. I didn't read The Three Investigators, but I know of them. You're right. I never head of the Brains Benton books.

Pat Rayman said...

Hi Lesa, this is the Patty in your story. I did love those books and the family still owns them. I remember mom & dad sending away for those books, they came once a month and it was always a great day when a new one arrived. I think they just wanted to encourage my love of reading. I have forgotten did you get to read all of them? Thanks for the pleasant memories.

Gram said...

I was way too old for them. I always though that the Hardy Boys had more interesting adventures than Nancy Drew and her gang.

Carol N Wong said...

I didn't know that they existed! Wish I had. My cousin introduced me to Nancy Drew and I loved her.

Lesa said...

Pat!

I don't think Linda saw the blog. She's been so busy. We loved those books. It was so nice of you to lend them to you. Now you know Linda's secret, that she envied you having them. Christie pointed out that you had commented. Thank you again!

Linda said...

More stressed than busy... So glad you told me about this post; what wonderful memories! I think we read all of them, although I could not have named the kids!